by Mike Masnick

Ringback Feedback -- Education A Big Issue

from the who-wants-to-hear-that? dept

We've had an ongoing debate here over whether or not ringback tones in the US are more of a "fashion statement" that will go away, or a real trend. Ringback tones are what people hear when they call you (as opposed to ringtones, which is what you hear when people call you). There are two major issues that we've pointed out. First ringbacks are pretty much the definition of a fashion statement. Since the person buying them doesn't get to appreciate them -- it's only for showing off to friends. Fashion statements have been known to go out of fashion, sometimes very quickly. However, the bigger issue is education. You have to educate buyers as to why they want to spend a good bit of money for something they'll never hear -- and you have to educate your friends as to why they're hearing music instead of "ring ring" when they call you. Most people have no clue what ringbacks are, and seem somewhat confused the first time they hear them. Witness the minor "focus group" conducted by one ringback tone user in the US who notes that many callers hung up in confusion -- and others expressed confusion about what happened when they finally got through. It looks like almost every caller tried a few times, and hung up in confusion when they first heard the ringback tone. However, on the "pro" side, many seemed to like the idea once they understood the concept of ringback tones. So, it all comes back to education. The carriers are going to need to start quite the education campaign if they're really expecting this to take off.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    John Lin, 26 Apr 2005 @ 12:16am

    Ring backs - definitely education needed

    I called a former co-worker and heard a ring back. I had heard of ring backs before, but for some reason, I thought a ring back would ring my phone... instead of playing a tune before my friend answered and thought there was something wrong with the # I called...!


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DL, 26 Apr 2005 @ 8:01am

    Inverse Ringtones

    What I always thought would be interesting is "inverse" ringtones. Instead of programming what my phone plays whenever anyone calls me, I'd like to have my special ringtone play on someone else's phone when I call them.

    That way, you can tell who is calling you just by the tone. Sure, you can program most phones to play certain tones depending on caller id grouping, but this is tedious to set up, plus it makes sense to have the caller define how they want others to "perceive" them.

    From a technical standpoint, it could be difficult, since the capabilities of every phone are different (simple tones, polyphonic, full audio).

    And on the other hand, it might be really annoying. Personally, I keep my mobile on vibrate all the time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Phil B, 26 Apr 2005 @ 9:40am

    Ring Backs

    I wish ringbacks were compulsory. Then when someone was continuously ringing a phone with an irritating ringtone sat on a desk they'd realise how annoying they were being and STOP!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.